from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Open to more than one interpretation: an ambiguous reply.
  • adj. Doubtful or uncertain: "The theatrical status of her frequently derided but constantly revived plays remained ambiguous” ( Frank Rich).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Open to multiple interpretations.
  • adj. Vague and unclear.
  • adj. Of persons: hesitant; uncertain; not taking sides.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Doubtful or uncertain, particularly in respect to signification; capable of being understood in either of two or more possible senses; equivocal

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of doubtful or uncertain nature; wanting clearness or definiteness; difficult to comprehend or distinguish; indistinct; obscure.
  • Of doubtful purport; open to various interpretations; having a double meaning; equivocal.
  • Wavering; undecided; hesitating: as, “ambiguous in all their doings,” Milton, Eikono-klastes (1649), p. 239.
  • Using obscure or equivocal language.
  • Synonyms Equivocal, etc. (see obscure), indeterminate, indefinite, indistinct, not clear, not plain, amphibolous, dubious, vague, enigmatical, dark, blind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead
  • adj. having no intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns
  • adj. having more than one possible meaning


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From Latin ambiguus, uncertain, from ambigere, to go about : amb-, ambi-, around; see ambi- + agere, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ambiguus ("moving from side to side, of doubtful nature"), from ambigere ("to go about, wander, doubt"), from ambi- ("around, about, on both sides") + agere ("to drive, move").



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  • At least four of which use the word itself....

    August 4, 2008

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    August 3, 2008